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Duke the Dachshund, who lives in Texas, USA, was born with all white fur, a pink nose and blue eyes but his unique looks mean he is extremely sensitive to sunlight. As well as having to wear sun cream to protect him from the sun, the eight-year-old canine is also partially deaf, blind and has dilated cardiomyopathy, meaning he has an enlarged heart.
Fortunately in 2013, Mercedes Andrade, a 38-year-old accountant, came across Duke who said that it was love at first sight.
Initially only stopping by the rescue shelter to pay a visit to unwanted dogs, Mercedes refused to leave until she officially adopted the albino Dachshund.
Recalling the day she first saw Duke to Daily Mail, Mercedes said: “Until the day I met Duke, I had never seen or heard of an albino dachshund.
“Creams, dapples, blue, greys, piebalds, merles – seen them all, but pristine white with a pink nose and blue eyes, never!
“Among the playing puppies, there he was, the smallest of them – a white, blue-eyed, pink-nosed cutie.
“You couldn’t help but mention how stunning he was.
“He chose us to be his family, not the other way around. He knew that he would be in a safe and happy home.”
Since finding his forever home, Duke has gained a lot of attention in his home town and passersby for his unique looks.
Mercedes said: “Almost everyone who approaches him says they’ve never seen an albino one before.
“He gets a lot of attention and loves every minute of it, and they often request to take photos of him.
“I normally get a lot of messages on his Instagram saying that he’s absolutely beautiful and when I read his messages to him, it’s like he knows how special he really is.”
To showcase Duke’s albino features and love for dressing up, Mercedes launched an Instagram account so people across the world can follow her pet’s story.
According to Pet MD, albinism dogs are considered to be extremely rare and can only be proven to be a true albino through a genetic test.
Albinism is caused when animals and even humans, lack the genes to produce melanin, the pigment responsible for producing skin and hair colouring.
If a puppy has a parent with the merle gene, which is a dominant trait that can be passed down, they are highly likely to be born albino.
Exposure to the sun can lead to albino dogs having a higher chance of developing skin cancer or even suffer from untreatable eye problems.
Certain breeds are known for the rare skin condition to occur more often, these include Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Pugs, Great Danes and West Highland White Terriers.
Despite his medical issues, Duke is considered a happy sausage dog, who loves playing with his toys and living alongside fellow Dachshund, Dior.
Mercedes said: “Duke is unlike any other dachshund I’ve had.
“He is loving with everyone and loves to be loved.
“He loves playing fetch with all his toys, morning and evening walks, and to my pleasant surprise, loves his bandanas and getting his pictures taken.
“He has learned a version of hide and seek – he will go into the closet and close the door. “He’ll then scratch at the door so you can find him.”
You can follow Duke on Instagram @duke_the.albino.dachshund
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